It’s normal for anyone going through a divorce to feel overwhelmed by the financial, logistical and emotional changes and challenges. For divorcing parents, however, the challenges presented by a divorce are often magnified and much more complex.
As children grow up, every parent wants to provide them with a safe, loving and happy home environment. The fact is that when parents are unhappy, a child will pick up on the tension and emotional turmoil – and may be negatively affected. Parents who choose to divorce, therefore, often reason that doing so is best for the entire family. While this may be true, particularly in the long run, it’s likely that a child will have some difficulty adjusted to their parents’ divorce.
Amid attempting to deal with your own emotions during a divorce, it’s equally important to ensure for the physical and emotional wellbeing of your child. Clearly, every child is unique and will be impacted by – and cope with – a divorce in their own way. There are, however, some basic things that every child needs when trying to cope with the changes and confusion that often accompany divorce:
- Time: It would be wise to provide your child with the time they need to adjust to the change. You and your co-parent should also make sure to spend ample time with your child and make time for fun and play.
- Communication: Your child is likely to have many questions about the divorce. It’s important for you and your co-parent to come to a consensus on what to communicate to your child and to continually remind your child that they are loved, and the divorce is not their fault.
- Consistency: A divorce presents many changes for a child, none of which were their choice. Changes in living, child custody and education arrangements can leave a child feeling very unsettled. It’s important therefore, that when possible, you and your co-parent work to provide predictable routines.
When going through the divorce process, it can be valuable to take a step back and look at things from your child’s perspective. There’s no rulebook when it comes to divorce and children. There are, however, steps you can take to make the divorce process easier on your child.